[MARMAM] Tursiops truncatus - Stenella frontalis Research in Venezuela. Internship and volunteering Program 2019

Sergio Cobarrubia sergio.cobarrubia at gmail.com
Sun Jan 20 07:58:40 PST 2019



Laboratory of Ecosystems and Global Change (LEGC-IVIC) and Provita.


The Laboratory of Ecosystems and Global Change (LEGC) of the Venezuelan
Institute of Scientific Research (IVIC) invites the first season of
internships-volunteering (2019) in the study of coastal dolphins. LEGC is a
scientific team that among its research lines on the fauna of coastal and
riparian ecosystems, it has established the first one on aquatic mammals in
Venezuela. On the other hand, Provita is an important NGO that contributes
to the research and conservation of species in Venezuela.

This research will begin with a project focused on sociobiology (social
structure, social networks and bioacoustics) of resident groups of the
coastal bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) and the Atlantic spotted
dolphin (Stenella frontalis) in the central coast of Venezuela. This, after
an experience of 5 years in that locality studying ecological aspects of T.
truncatus (https://doi.org/10.1007/s13364-018-0401-1). The coast of Aragua
not only houses these species, but also the Bryde's whale (Balaenoptera
edeni), the common dolphin (Delphinus sp.) and the spinner dolphin (Stenella
longirostris). Of which basic information is collected too.

LEGC interns and volunteers are young, hard-working who are willing to
contribute to research by learning as they experience fieldwork in teams,
field techniques for collecting and processing data and methodologies. All
team members and interns share academic space, housing in the Institute,
housework in the study area, knowledge and experience in a friendly and
multicultural environment.

The internship consists of four weeks. The first week of
theoretical-practical preparation (40 theoretical hours) at the IVIC
Ecology Center. The next three weeks of 15 field surveys and data
management (120 h) on the Aragua coast. The volunteering consist of three
weeks of field surveys (Which will receive a basic theory needed for field


Theory: LEGC, Center of Ecology (IVIC) Miranda State, Caracas (10 23 N 66
58 W, http://www.ivic.gob.ve/es/).

Practice: Bahia de Cata, western coast of the (rain forest) National Park
Henry Pittier, Aragua state (central coast of Venezuela) 150 km from
Caracas (DC) (10 29 N 67 44 W).

PROGRAM: Interns (4 weeks) – Volunteers (3 weeks. Which will receive a
basic theory needed for field surveys).

WEEK 1 (LEGC-Ecology Center, 40 hours. For Interns).

Monday: What is a cetacean? The cetaceans and the human in history. Origin,
evolution and diversity. Adaptations for aquatic life: Anatomy and
Physiology. Life histories. Biogeography. Distribution. Ecology Behavior.

Tuesday: Identification of species reported for Venezuela. Basic logistics
for the study of cetaceans on the mainland, sea and air. Basic equipment to
collect information. How to detect cetaceans and record an effective
sighting? Basic data to collect during a sighting.

Wednesday: Calibration and use of GPS. Configuration and use of the SLR
cameras. Photo-identification as a tool for ecological and behavioral
studies. Daily encounter ratio. Estimation of abundance.

Thursday: Residence patterns, Estimation of range, Home Range and core
areas. Study of behavior. Study of habitat use.

Friday: Social structure and social networks. Bioacoustics

Saturday: Break.

Sunday: Transfer to the Bahia de Cata.

WEEKS 2, 3 and 4 (Bahía de Cata-Provita, 120 hours. For Interns and

The field surveys will be carried out in a fishing vessel of 9 m in length.
The field work will depend on the climatic conditions, however, the Aragua
coast offers few climatic inconveniences throughout the year.

There will be 15 mornings of field surveys, after each survey is lunch,
rest and then proceed to download the data of sightings and then interpret
them preliminarily and discuss them. Weekends are free to know the coast
(beaches, inlets, scuba), rainforest, birds observation, etc.

In the field surveys, it will be implemented:

- The identification and recognition of the elements of the marine
landscape and the method of tracking and detection of cetaceans.

- Ethical navigation mode before cetaceans for study.

- The basic data collection / sighting.

- Use of GPS.

- Use of the camera.

- Counting of total individuals and by age group.

- Identification of the behavioral states that configure group behavior and
its recording.

- Use of the hydrophone.

In the afternoon the information of the sightings will be downloaded:

- Sighting forms.

- Latitude and longitude.

- Photographs and their selection.

- Voice recordings (behavior).

- Recordings of vocalizations.

The data obtained in the sea will be processed and discuted. In parallel,
the Interns should write a proposal for the study of coastal cetaceans.

PRACTICAL FEES: Although accommodation and food (lunch and dinner) are
covered in the first week for Interns, the field surveys requires a
monetary contribution that will be used to exclusively compensate the
logistics costs in the study area (1,150 US$). For more information, please
contact: sergio.cobarrubia at gmail.com.

WHEN: During the year there will be 6 internships-volunteering (February,
April, June, August, October, December).

For Interns the theoretical phase will be for the first week of the
mentioned month. For Interns and Volunteers will be the following three
weeks of field survey.

VACANTS: 4 people / internship or volunteerng.

Included in the rate is:

- Accommodation in the Bahia de Cata (Aragua).

- Transportation Simon Bolivar International Airport-IVIC / IVIC-Bahia de

- Meals in Bahia de Cata (breakfast, lunch and dinner)

- Field work in the sea.

Not included in the rate is:

- Meals in restaurants

- Free time activities

- Personal insurance (all participants must have health and / or travel

- Personal expenses.


- Being over 18 years

- Iterns: Preference will be given to undergraduate students and
professional students (biology, marine biology, environmental, conservation
and plus).

- Volunteer: No preferences.

- Have a mature attitude towards the investigation of marine mammals and

- Be autonomous and flexible

- To be able to live and work in an international team and mainly outdoors
in the sea

- Speak Spanish, English, we can deal with the Portuguese and Italian.

ACADEMIC CREDITS: The LEGC will certify the work performed by intern or
volunteer through a Diploma with the recognition of the hours
(academic-practical) worked. Likewise, volunteers will receive a Volunteer
diploma of the project with the recognition of the hours (practical) worked.

APPLICATION AND QUESTIONS: Applicants must write to
sergio.cobarrubia at gmail.com with the subject "DOLPHINS PROJECT_Name".

You will be sent a confirmation email with all the details about the study
area and the species present, the practices and requesting your CV resume,
motivation letter (small statement about what your expectations are and why
you want to work with LEGC) and the internship month of your choice.

Applications will be accepted throughout the year, however, early
application is recommended due to limited vacancies.

*Sergio Enrique Cobarrubia Russo*
Laboratorio de Ecosistemas y Cambio Global
Centro de Ecología
Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Científicas
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